Dave Chappelle has spent decades as one of comedy’s top minds having conquered film, cable television, and the stage. For his talents, the Washington, D.C. region native will be awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor later this year.
The stand-up comic, actor, producer and director joins a prestigious group of comedians to receive the award. Among them are Carol Burnett, Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Newhart and Richard Pryor — who won the very first Twain Prize in 1998.
“Dave is one of the truly original voices in comedy — the definition of a creative artist,” Matthew Winer, director of comedy and special programming at the Kennedy Center, said to NPR. “He’s a modern day sociologist, skewering stereotypes, defying boundaries and showing us that laughter can be a way to contextualize issues that we struggle to understand.”
“Dave is the embodiment of Mark Twain’s observation that ‘against the assault of humor, nothing can stand,’ ” Deborah F. Rutter, president of the Kennedy Center, said in a prepared statement. “For three decades, Dave has challenged us to see hot-button issues from his entirely original yet relatable perspective.”
Chappelle will return to Washington on Oct. 27 of this year in a ceremony at the Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts. The actual broadcast of the event will air in Jan. 2020.